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How Long Does an Endoscopy Take?

How Long Does an Endoscopy Take

An endoscopy is a minimally invasive medical procedure. It allows your doctor, who is specially trained in digestive health, to view the inside of the body without making large incisions.

Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, your gastroenterologist can diagnose and sometimes even treat conditions that affect your esophagus and stomach.

Gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is used to examine the upper GI tract, which includes the:

  • Esophagus: the tube carrying food and liquids from your throat to your stomach.
  • Stomach: the organ that holds your food after you swallow it. Here, food mixes with digestive juices to break down so your body can use it.
  • Duodenum: the beginning part of your small intestine, just past your stomach. It’s where further digestion of your food happens, turning it into nutrients your body can absorb.

Why Would I Need an Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is commonly prescribed for patients who experience conditions such as:

  1. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): chronic acid reflux that can lead to more serious complications like ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus.
  2. Difficulty swallowing: sensations of food being stuck in the esophagus or dysphagia.
  3. Esophageal strictures: narrowing of the esophagus caused by scar tissue, often due to chronic acid exposure.
  4. Persistent stomach pain: examining potential causes like ulcers, gastritis, or tumors.
  5. Barrett’s esophagus: a precancerous condition where the tissue lining the esophagus changes, often due to repeated exposure to stomach acid.

How Is an Endoscopy Performed?

During an endoscopy, you are typically sedated to ensure comfort.

The endoscope is then gently inserted through the mouth and guided down the esophagus into the stomach and duodenum.

Throughout the procedure, the endoscope transmits video images to a monitor, allowing your doctor to examine the esophagus and stomach lining and identify any abnormalities.

Sometimes, biopsies, or small tissue samples, are taken for further laboratory analysis.

How Long Does an Endoscopy Take?

When considering the duration of an endoscopy, several key steps should be taken into account: preparation, the actual procedure, and recovery.

Preparation

You will need to fast for 6 to 8 hours before the endoscopy to ensure a clear view of the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Pre-procedure instructions will also include guidelines for taking your medications and arranging for transportation to and from the procedure due to sedation effects.

Procedure Time

The actual endoscopy is relatively quick, typically taking only about 15 to 30 minutes. This will vary depending on what needs to be examined or done during the procedure.

Recovery

After the procedure, you are moved to a recovery area to allow the effects of sedation to wear off. This usually takes about an hour. At home, you can expect to rest for the remainder of the day. Your throat may feel a bit sore for a day or two.

When To Talk To A Doctor About Endoscopy

It may be time to consider an endoscopy if you’re experiencing persistent symptoms such as:

  • Unrelieved heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • A feeling of fullness after eating very little
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn with little relief from over-the-counter medications

An endoscopy can provide critical insights into what may be causing your discomfort and help determine the best course of action for effective treatment.

This procedure is a short, safe, and minimally invasive procedure that could significantly improve your overall health.

If you think you might need an endoscopy, don’t delay – schedule an appointment today!

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